I Got Nothin'

Normally, prior to writing my weekly blog, I’ll get an idea on Thursday or Friday. Then I’ll noodle the idea around in my head for a few days. By Sunday, I usually have a skeleton of what I plan on writing the next day. And on Monday, I’ll start writing around the bones of the idea.

That didn’t happen this week.

No idea. No noodling. No skeleton.

I got nothin’.

But as a writer, I have to write.

So you get somethin’.

The blank page is my enemy. So stick with me here and we’ll just go for a blog ride.

I’ll admit…writing a blog is new to me, but I have been a writer for a long time. It all started by reading. I’ll read almost anything. I especially love Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. You’ll notice that when I write things like “Anon, the state of country music today doth vex me.” To be honest though, I seldom write phrases like that…but you never know. I’ve read pretty much everything by Larry McMurtry and John Irving. Lots of books, short stories, poetry, and autobiographies. And song lyrics. It started with The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Everything Dylan wrote was a puzzle to figure out, and pretty much everything The Beatles wrote from Rubber Soul onward, so anachronistic for its time, was like an onion—I had to peel back every layer to get to the core of what they were writing, but both The Beatles and Dylan could both be enjoyed at the surface.

 Camo, with Porter Wagoner, at 1390 CHOO in Ajax, Ontario, Canada

Camo, with Porter Wagoner, at 1390 CHOO in Ajax, Ontario, Canada

Fast forward past high school and college, through the rest of the eighties, and into the early nineties. It was then that I took myself off of the radio for the most part, and into the creative department at CHOO radio in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. I wrote the radio commercials and promos that were heard on the station. And I had a flare for it. After a few years of writing there and at Magic 94.9 FM in Oshawa, I started freelancing—doing tv commercials (completely with stick figure storyboards), outdoor and print advertising. Then with stints in Toronto at Q107/640am and CHFI/680News/Jack FM I had fully developed my branding strategy—and moved to England.

I worked at a radio only ad agency called Airforce in Maidstone, Kent—and hung out a lot in Rochester, Kent—where Dickens lived for quite some time. I worked at a small, full service ad agency in Nottingham, freelanced in Mildenhall, Suffolk, and then moved to an ad agency in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire—all the time, from the early nineties onward, trying to write fiction. I wrote a lot, but finished none. I never knew how to end my stories. But with advertising, I had it nailed. After about four years in Peterborough, working with great people and clients, I made the move to London.

 Camo (center) with his design team at Betfair, London

Camo (center) with his design team at Betfair, London

I was the writer for about eight designers creating gambling advertising at Betfair. For two years, it was pretty cool—creating advertising for soccer, rugby, horse racing…pretty much anything you could bet on, and for almost every country where online betting was legal.

But after two years working in London, I’d had enough. In 1777 Samuel Johnson may have said “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." But Johnson never had to commute. I loved London, but taking the train for ninety minutes from Peterborough to Kings Cross, then thirty minutes on the Tube from Kings Cross to Hammersmith, and then a 15 minute walk and then doing it all again in the evening…well, I was stressed, tired and depressed.

Worse though, was that all of the stories I was seeing play out every day on the tube and train started to lose their color for me. All I wanted to do was listen to my music and hide from people.

Not a great thing for a writer. And still something I deal with even today. Being a natural introvert can be difficult when what I do for a living—what has chosen me to be my career—requires me to be an extrovert.

 Camo making a point in Nashville.

Camo making a point in Nashville.

So here I am in Nashville. I am an observer. I watch what unfolds in the world around me and write about it. Or talk about it on the Nashville Access Podcast, or it may work it’s way into something I say on the Nashville Access radio show.

So…it looks like we got us a blog out of all of that. Thanks for sticking with me. Oh…and one more thing. I’ll let you in on a little secret: just because I’m wearing headphones (almost always) doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything playing in them. I may be listening to you.

Now I’ve got somethin’.

—Camo